Supersource!: Innovations for Teaching Literacy in the ELA and Special Education Classroom

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For many students in Georgia, today is the first day of school, which is the case for my district. Thankfully, students are going into classrooms like my friend’s, McCall Grosso. McCall is one of the most talented language arts teachers I have ever witnessed. Her ability to build relationships with students and get those students to believe in themselves is unparalleled. I am so thankful she was able to write this guest post today that highlights the work she and another teacher are doing at their school. The program they have developed is necessary for growing literacy skills with students who face academic challenges and in most cases, simply haven’t found the right book yet. McCall’s innovative and collaborative approach is both inspiring and a model for what could and should be done to elevate every student and promote literacy across learning levels. Please read on–I promise you will end feeling inspired! Continue reading

Get Your Air Horn Ready: Debate Is Now in Session

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by Dr. Kim Foster

“It. Was. Awesome.”

Let me paint a picture for you. It’s April. There are three weeks of school left for my senior students. To use one student’s exact words, he is beyond ready to “low-key get on up out of this building.” And I understand. I was a senior in high school once. I was a senior in college once. And I was 8 months pregnant defending my dissertation once. I get it. They want to be done, and I want that for them. They have earned it! However, we have three weeks left together, and I want these weeks to be meaningful. So, as I have for the past three years with seniors, we do a debate unit at the end of the year. “Arguing” with one another keeps them highly engaged. They want to win. They want to be right. Continue reading

GCTE Preview: See You in Athens!

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The Georgia Council of Teachers of English (GCTE) conference in Athens, GA is in just a few short weeks, and this year feels particularly special since I have so many of my colleagues presenting this year too. I cannot entirely pinpoint why I wanted to ensure more of the ELA teachers at my school presented this year, but I know part of the inspiration came from the stellar work they were doing. I have always, no matter the setting, worked with phenomenal ELA teachers. My current school is no exception, so when the time came, I sent an email encouraging several of my compatriots to submit a proposal. Thankfully, most all accepted the challenge, submitted a proposal, and were accepted! In today’s post, I will preview many of the presentations/workshops my colleagues and I will be showing on the weekend of February 9 and 10 as well as why you should check them out! For anyone interested, it is not too late to go to GCTE this year. Go here for conference information. Continue reading

Revisiting Banksy (Again): Leveraging Visual Literacy & Documentary to Promote Critical Thinking

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As part of working on a publication that comes out later this year, I worked closely with my colleague and friend, Glenn Chance, in his classroom where he trusted me to help him implement work with visual literacy and connecting it to the work he was doing with memoir. Since I currently do not have my own ELA classroom, I truly appreciate Glenn allowing me to invade his planning and class time. There were several goals of this project and unit, but in today’s post I am only going to concentrate on how we developed visual literacy skills for students and how we partnered them with both memoir, author’s purpose, and documentary. Inside the post there is a breakdown of what we did and or reflections on those actions from our planning and class time in hopes what is shared can help you in your classroom or at the very least continue the conversation for the value of the explicit instruction of visual literacy. For anyone attending GCTE this year, we’ll be presenting this information there as well. Continue reading

GCTE Here We Come!: Sharing Innovative Approaches to Teaching ELA

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I realized the other day that I had not posted for nearly a month. While I intended to share my latest attempt at supporting my work-based learning students a few weeks ago, a scheduling conflict caused me to cancel my workshop with them, meaning I have been working with most students one-on-one through their resume-building process. I do intend to have a real update there, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some great news and hopefully drum up some interest of fellow ELA teachers in the state of Georgia.

Last night myself and several of my colleagues found out we were approved to present at this year’s GCTE (Georgia Council of Teachers of English) Conference in Athens, GA on February 9-10!

What makes this particularly special this year is rather than going solo as I have in many years past to present, I invited several of my ELA colleagues to join forces with me to put in multiple proposals that showcase the extraordinary work we do with students on our campus. A sincere goal of mine this year was to bring my school to the foreground of what innovative and best practices look like in the modern high school setting, and I was so thrilled to see my colleagues to accept my invitation. Because of their leap of faith, Lanier High School will have 7 ELA teachers represented in 4 great presentations during the weekend. I do sincerely hope fellow ELA teachers in the state can join us. The topics we’ll be exploring include:

  • “Exiting Through the Gift Shop: Enhancing Non-Fiction Instruction through Banksy, Documentary, and Memoir”
  • “Formative Assessment with Seesaw
  • “Innovating Shakespeare: A Collaborative, Technology-Rich Approach to Introducing the Bard”
  • “Transforming Teaching Through a Blended Classroom”

We hope to see you there!